Volunteering Can Have an Impact on How You Lead
I have been volunteering for as long as I can remember and it’s something very close to my heart.
My first experience as a volunteer began when I was a Brownie (Girl Scout) in elementary school. Now, I’m blessed to work for a company that recognizes the importance of giving back to the communities in which we live, work and serve.
Having active engagement in our community is one of Blue Care Network’s priorities and presents our team members with numerous volunteer opportunities. I’m so proud of the hundreds of volunteers at BCN who take our responsibility seriously, and with great spirit, are giving back to communities across Michigan.
In my many years of volunteering I’ve witnessed the impact volunteering can have on us – not just as people – but also as leaders.
I believe as leaders we should ask ourselves, if we’re not doing our part – then who is or who will be?
I think it’s important for us to be examples for the next generation of leaders and instill the importance of volunteering in our kids. I took my children to a “Super Readers” volunteer event at the Coalition On Temporary Shelter, and they spent the morning with the children who lived at the shelter, reading to them and working on craft projects. As the event was coming to an end my daughter asked me, “when are the kids from the shelter getting here?” It was eye opening for her to realize that those kids were not any different than her.
My children understand that some people don’t have everything they need and for those of us that do, we’re responsible for uplifting the next person. My oldest daughter is a sophomore in college now and is very involved in volunteering. I’m so proud that she embraces doing the right thing, even when she’s away from us.
My experiences with volunteering have given me a unique perspective on people and has made me a more thoughtful leader. Anyone can fall on hard times. I know just because someone has a job to come to every day, doesn’t mean they’re not going through something. As such, I continue to be mindful of situations an employee might be in before I jump to conclusions.
Volunteering is eye opening. It gives me a greater appreciation for people. It moves me. It inspires me. I believe in paying it forward. And I believe if more people opened their hearts and their calendars and took time to volunteer, it’d open their eyes and they’d see the impact they can have, and we’d be in a better place as a society.
If you’re interested in volunteering or working with an organization to get your business involved in volunteering I encourage you to look at some of the following organizations:
- COTS, the Coalition On Temporary Shelter
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit
- Cass Community Social Services
- Gleaners Community Food Bank
- United Way
Tiffany A. Albert is president and chief executive officer of Blue Care Network of Michigan and a vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. As the leader of Michigan’s largest HMO, Tiffany provides strategic direction, leadership and management of the operations of BCN and is responsible for driving strategy and execution that optimizes HMO performance across all business segments.
Tiffany is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and currently lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and their three children.